The US-proposed meeting of a joint committee on the South Korea-US free trade agreement to discuss possible changes to the trade pact will likely be delayed due to time needed for Seoul's new top FTA negotiator to prepare, a government official said Wednesday.
"No date or time has been set for the meeting," the official told Yonhap News Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In a letter, dated July 12, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asked for the meeting to be held to consider "possible amendments and modifications" to the Korea-US FTA.
The agreement requires a special session of the joint committee to be held within 30 days, he had noted.
Seoul, while in the process of picking its new trade minister, said the meeting will likely be delayed.
Its new trade minister, Kim Hyun-chong, was appointed last Sunday.
Kim, 57, previously served as the country's top FTA negotiator, concluding the Korea-US FTA in 2007. The bilateral free trade deal went into effect in early 2013.
Washington blames the FTA for its large trade deficit with South Korea.
Most recently, US President Donald Trump stressed the need to revise the Korea-US FTA, saying it was causing an enormous trade deficit for his country while speaking to South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a telephone conversation Monday (Seoul time), according to Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
Seoul, on the other hand, insists the FTA was what had kept the countries' bilateral trade growing despite a 12 percent decline in overall global trade over the 2012-2017 period.
The Cheong Wa Dae official earlier said the proposed FTA meeting with the United States must first review whether the Korea-US FTA did in fact cause a rise in the US' trade deficit with South Korea. (Yonhap)